Will the 'Southwest Effect' lower the cost of Hawaiian flights?

Friday, 13 October 2017, 04:53:08 PM. Southwest Airline plans to begin service to Hawaii next year, increasing competition with several major carriers.

Since Southwest Airlines began to challenge the established major airlines in the 1990s, the low-cost carrier has forced its competitors to lower fares in what industry insiders call “the Southwest Effect.”

Fans of Hawaii are hoping that “the Southwest Effect” happens next year when Southwest Airlines hopes to begin serving islands in the Pacific.

Southwest Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Kelly on Wednesday announced plans to file an application with the Federal Aviation Administration to begin service to Hawaii next year.

The airline said more details of the new service, such as the date it would launch and the mainland cities where the flights would originate, would be released at a later date.

Southwest Airlines is now the third-busiest carrier in the U.S., and a study by the University of Virginia this year found that Southwest still has the power to force its rivals to lower fares to stay competitive.

The Dallas airline began to fly outside the U.S. in 2014 when it took over flights to the Caribbean from its subsidiary AirTrans. Later that year, Southwest began flying to Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Andrew Watterson, executive vice president and chief revenue officer, said the airline expects it could take the FAA one to two years to approve the carrier’s application for long-term service to Hawaii. Once approved, he said, Southwest will fly most of its routes from California to Kauai, Honolulu and the island of Hawaii.

The carrier started to take delivery this summer of the Boeing 737 Max 8, a new jet with quieter engines and better fuel efficiency. Watterson said Southwest has been waiting for delivery of the 737 Max 8 to deploy it on routes to Hawaii.

As for ticket prices, Watterson said, Southwest officials have looked at how much other carriers charge for flights to Hawaii and believe the carrier can charge less.

“We anticipate fares will drop,” he said.

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Drone footage reveals the devastation wrought by the deadly Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. An astounding number of women have shared stories of alleged sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein. A USC administrator has left his post in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues. President Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen, a top aide to Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Credits: Associated Press, Travis Geske, Getty, KTLA

Drone footage reveals the devastation wrought by the deadly Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. An astounding number of women have shared stories of alleged sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein. A USC administrator has left his post in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues. President Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen, a top aide to Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Credits: Associated Press, Travis Geske, Getty, KTLA

will-the--and-apos;southwest-effect-and-apos;-lower-the-cost-of-hawaiian-flights photo 2 CAPTION

Drone footage reveals the devastation wrought by the deadly Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. An astounding number of women have shared stories of alleged sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein. A USC administrator has left his post in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues. President Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen, a top aide to Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Credits: Associated Press, Travis Geske, Getty, KTLA

Drone footage reveals the devastation wrought by the deadly Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. An astounding number of women have shared stories of alleged sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein. A USC administrator has left his post in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues. President Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen, a top aide to Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Credits: Associated Press, Travis Geske, Getty, KTLA

will-the--and-apos;southwest-effect-and-apos;-lower-the-cost-of-hawaiian-flights photo 3 CAPTION

Over 160,000 acres have been destroyed in northern California fires.

Over 160,000 acres have been destroyed in northern California fires.

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The death toll from the Northern California fires has reached 17. A wounded Mandalay Bay security guard warned hotel officials about a gunman before the Las Vegas massacre. Harvey Weinstein is facing more sexual assault and harassment allegations. The FBI’s investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball continues to expand. 

The death toll from the Northern California fires has reached 17. A wounded Mandalay Bay security guard warned hotel officials about a gunman before the Las Vegas massacre. Harvey Weinstein is facing more sexual assault and harassment allegations. The FBI’s investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball continues to expand. 

will-the--and-apos;southwest-effect-and-apos;-lower-the-cost-of-hawaiian-flights photo 5 CAPTION

A Northern California firestorm is one of the worst in state history, officials say. The Dodgers are heading to the NLCS after beating the Diamondbacks Monday night. Police have dramatically changed their account of how the Las Vegas massacre began. The Los Angeles Times has named a new editor in chief. 

A Northern California firestorm is one of the worst in state history, officials say. The Dodgers are heading to the NLCS after beating the Diamondbacks Monday night. Police have dramatically changed their account of how the Las Vegas massacre began. The Los Angeles Times has named a new editor in chief. 

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A wind-fed wildfire surged over the Anaheim Hills on Monday, burning several homes and forcing thousands to evacuate as fire crews struggled to battle the rapidly growing blaze.

A wind-fed wildfire surged over the Anaheim Hills on Monday, burning several homes and forcing thousands to evacuate as fire crews struggled to battle the rapidly growing blaze.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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